Kirk Douglas recalls ‘Spartacus’ censorship
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Legendary actor Kirk Douglas holds an advertising placard for the film ‘Spartacus.’Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas earned a standing ovation from a packed Los Angeles theater as he introduced a screening of the 1960 classic “Spartacus” that included a previously censored scene.
“When you’re 95 years old, you don’t look forward. You look backwards, you take inventory,” Douglas said Aug. 13, as he sat on stage to talk about the film that immortalized him as a movie legend.
Douglas said that “Spartacus,” a 2.5-hour epic about a slave rebellion in the Roman empire, challenged censorship during an era when Hollywood actors and screenwriters were blacklisted due to their alleged communist sympathies.
Douglas produced and starred in the movie, which won four Oscars. The film was directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-starred Laurence Olivier and Tony Curtis.
Douglas hired Dalton Trumbo, a blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter, who wrote the script under a penname. Douglas however put Trumbo’s name in the film credits. “You have no idea how terrible those years were when we had the blacklist,” said Douglas.
The complete “Spartacus,” which was restored in 1991, includes a homoerotic scene that censors cut out when the movie first screened. In the scene, Olivier’s character comes to his slave, a young, half-naked Curtis, and asks him to enter the tub and help bathe him. Douglas presented the restored version at the “Last 70mm Film Festival” series.